Researchers have found that one’s internal 24-hour body clock (circadian rhythm) controls the body’s ability to fight off disease. Jet lag occurs when your circadian rhythm is upset due to travel across various time zones. The disruption caused by travel and (typically) sleep deprivation makes the body more susceptible to disease.
Jet lag seems to be worse for travelers heading west, versus those traveling east. Interestingly, children do not seem to be affected by jet lag as badly as adults.
Here are some methods to combat jet lag:
- Drink lots of water /fluids that do not contain alcohol or caffeine (the air in planes is very dry)
- Sleep as much as possible (inflatable neck pillows often help)
- Time your meals to match the same meal time at your destination
- Walk around the cabin and stretch when possible, then exercise asap upon arrival
It also helps to prepare for your trip by exercising before it as well – and no drinking, hangovers make it much worse.